Simple Seasonal’s Advice for Growing a Community With Email Marketing
By Olivia Dello Buono May 1, 2015
When you’re a busy family, it’s easy to fall back on processed, convenience foods. After all, it’s quick, easy and accessible—tempting buzzwords for every working parent. But for Dan and Rachel Hanawalt, they knew that by opting for convenience they were sacrificing their health.
“My husband and I came to the realization that we needed to make some real changes to our lifestyle,” said Rachel. “Both of us began to understand that our bad health choices were beginning to hold us back.”
So they set out to make a change, adopting healthier dietary habits in order to live a more balanced life and be an example for their son. With their newfound lifestyle came Simple Seasonal, a food blog aimed to educate other busy families that healthy lifestyles start in the kitchen.
Blogging with intention
As a visiting nurse, Rachel noticed that many of her patients’ health problems were directly related to their dietary and lifestyle choices. Determined to make a positive change for her own family, she joined a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, where she would get a delivery of fresh vegetables each week.
“At first it was challenging to cook healthy recipes with a variety of vegetables, some of which were unfamiliar to us,” she says. “But with time, I fell in love with creating my own healthy recipes and Simple Seasonal was born.”
The blog became a space for her to explore her creative side, as well as make the idea of CSAs and healthy recipes more accessible to other busy parents. But finding time to juggle parenthood, a 9-5 and the blog doesn’t always come so easily.
“As a working mother, it’s very challenging. I schedule time into my day planner for creating content and marketing,” says Rachel. “Sometimes I exceed my goals, which is great. Sometimes I don’t meet them, which I’ve come to accept. Building a successful blog is like running a marathon. It’s important to just keep showing up every day and to give 100% with the time that I have.”Building a successful blog is like running a marathon. It's important to just keep showing up every day and to give 100% with the time that I have. Click To Tweet
Growing a likeminded community
Rachel attributes the Simple Seasonal‘s success to networking with a community of others looking to live a healthy lifestyle.
“Developing relationships with other bloggers has helped,” she says. “We’ve also been fortunate enough to be featured on some large online magazines, like Brit + Co. and DailyBurn. We’ve become friends with other bloggers in our niche. We don’t think of them as competitors—there are enough customers for everyone.”
She turned to email marketing to help promote her latest posts and drive traffic back to her website. She relies on her social channels to encourage readers to join their mailing list and has signup forms on every page of their website, as well as within popular articles.
“We’re using AWeber to send blog broadcasts and monthly newsletters. We send recipes around 2-3 times a week,” she says. “Our monthly newsletters feature news about Simple Seasonal, exclusive recipes just for subscribers and a roundup of our favorite recipes from other blogs.”
While they’ve always incorporated feedback, asking readers exactly what they wanted helped them to amp up their strategy. She looks to their readers as co-authors of their wellness journey, so involving them in the process only made sense. “We’re about to send out a reader survey to get to know our audience a little better, so we can really understand the content they want to see from us.”
Creating authentic experiences
Rachel admits that success didn’t come easy and it took a lot of dedication and hard work for the blog to get to where it is today. Her number one piece of advice? Stay true to yourself.
“Always be ethical and genuine with your content,” she says. “As a blogger, you’re an influencer and with that you need to preserve your integrity. Although at times you may get tired or frustrated, remember to have fun and love the content that you’re writing about.”
As Simple Seasonal continues to grow, Rachel knows that it’s a balancing act. She looks to email as a way to connect with her readers and share her passion for wellness. Success is just an added bonus.Growing a blog takes time and persistent people with good content will find success. Click To Tweet
“If you don’t meet a goal, or your audience isn’t growing as fast as you’d like it to, don’t give up. Growing a blog takes time and persistent people with good content will find success.”
Extend your reach beyond the inbox
Are you looking for a simple, no-frills strategy to consistently grow your email list?
Sign up for our free 5-day social media and email marketing course—it’s brimming with case studies, actionable tactics and data that will help you turn your social fans into email subscribers. Plus, you’ll get our free downloadable PDF guide!